That is rare for me. Hopefully, it proves how deeply I believe Bob Jones University needs to make a very public, very humble apology for its “die hard, squirrely” racial purity beliefs and practices. Many black and Asian students have been hurt, embarrassed and shunned because of the school’s firmly-held, wrongly-held, unapologetic “principle” of racial separation.
Why this issue?
There are many areas I do not agree with the University on, but this issue is so well-known, I am loathe to claim Bob Jones as alma mater.
“Where did you go to college?” I am asked.
I smile faintly and try not to make eye contact as I answer, “A Christian college in South Carolina.”
“Oh yeah? Which one?”
Another grimace. “Bob Jones.” I brace myself for the inevitable…even here on the West Coast.
“Aren’t they the ones that were sued because they wouldn’t let black students attend?”
I mumble in affirmative and say blacks can now attend and the ban on interracial dating was lifted in 2000 in a public interview with Larry King. This should not be what a Christian institution is known for in the unbelieving world, as Dr. Bob 3 concurred with in his interview the day he lifted the rule.
JONES: I don’t think it’s taking it too far, but I can tell you this, we don’t have to have that rule. In fact, as of today, we have dropped the rule. We have dropped the rule for this reason.
JONES: Today. I met with the administrators this afternoon before coming here. But let me tell you why we dropped it. We don’t want this to be a — here is a great institution, one of the premier academic institutions in America, one of the premier Christian colleges of America. We have a broader testimony. And if all anybody can see is this rule, which we never talk about or preach, which most of our students couldn’t even tell you what it is. It is that unimportant to us.
I said to our administration, you know, guys, this thing is of such insignificance to us, it is so significant to the world at large, the media particularly, why should we have this here as an obstacle? It hurts our graduates, we love our graduates greatly, it hurts maybe the church, as well. I don’t want to hurt the church of Jesus Christ.
KING: It’s ended?
JONES: It is ended, and I want it to be very clear why it has ended. Our concern for the cause of Christ, our concern for our graduates, our concern for our testimony, our concern for the school’s broader usefulness is greater to us than a rule that we never talk about and that is meaningless to us. The principle upon which it’s based is very, very important.
JONES: The only gain I want is for everybody to understand that the liberals were all wrong when they said we were racist. They wall [are] wrong when they looked at our rule and drew a conclusion about us that was so unflattering and so untrue. I just want to, you know, take this club out of their hand. That’s the only thing I want to do.
My fellow grads at PleaseReconcile.org have done a super job and detailing the controversy. They plan to send the letter and signatures on November 19, 2008 asking Stephen Jones, on behalf of the University, to formally and publicly apologize for its wrong position and past policies concerning racial separation. I hope that it may increase the reputation the University has suffered from for the last 35 years, and if Dr. Jones is concerned about the graduates, their testimony and their broader usefulness to the cause of Christ, how could a public apology hurt?
Have you attended Bob Jones University? Would you consider visiting the site and adding your name with my own?
6 thoughts on “Bob Jones University, No apology necessary?”
I went to a Christian School for 13 yrs. It was basically a mini Bob Jones . Although from what I hear nothing beats the real thing. I have always been proud of the fact I was taught based upon spiritual principles. However when the time came to choose a college it was difficult to go to Bob Jones . In your post you said that the media has made a big deal about this one issue and it was not an upheld practice. That is not true, in fact I think the media could do more. Also if the please reconcile website was still up you would see to what detail it was inforced. I don’t doubt that God has led you to BJU, but I would be best if you research and understand the extent of their policies on race. As a Christian you are to be a witness to all people, but you may have to answer different questions when it comes to witnessing to those in your own culture. You should be prepared for them.
Personally, I think the media and alot of organizations make more out of a place like Bob Jones, and more out of racial/interacial ”policies” than they do about more pressing issues in this world. BJU doesn’t allow pot heads and drunks in either. They are really careful about admitting people with a criminal record(they don;t forbid them, knowing everyone deserves another chance)but they are closely monitored. They wouldn’t allow anyone accused as being a sex offender. And really, would you want your teenage daughter going to college with a sex offender? Wanna guess how many secular universities are teeming with sex offenders? The world picks every little bugar they can find when it comes to Christian colleges, organizations, and churches. True, some need picking, but BJU’s only ”crime” was that an old pre-1960’s idealism law was left on the books until 2000, a law that wasn’t upheld for years. Blacks have been going to BJU since the 1970’s at least. I am Cherokee Indian, and I’m going there Fall, 2010. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. Why? Because it is a straight-forward, Bible-teaching college that prepares it’s students for service to the Lord spiritually, intellectually, and physically. There’s no junk to contend with. No late night party animals coming around while I’m trying to study or sleep. No drunken brawls. No horrible language that makes you wonder how people with such a limited vocabulary could even make it thru high school. No half-naked bodies to have to waste time looking away from. No Godless, humanistic teaching or professors that fail you if you disagree with his/her humanistic beliefs. No college is perfect, including Christian colleges. While you’re picking bugars, why don;t ya;ll research some Christian colleges. Asj some students how God is talked about, how Bibles are thrown across rooms, how God is mocked and laughed at, how so many students at these colleges are there because the ministry, under the umbrella of some association, is a good business to get into.
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Would you mind if I quoted you in my blog?
The part about “I am loathe to claim Bob Jones…” You & I are definitely on the same page re: that issue.
I don’t want to start cutting and pasting stuff from other blogs w/o at least asking permission.
Ekta, BJU class of 1985
I signed it. I’m so glad this is being requested, and I can see Stephen (not Bob 3rd for sure!) doing the right thing and apologizing.